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1:30 AM UTC Apr 26, 2018
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 By Ian Holyman

Belgium vs. Japan almost called off due to potential terror threat

Romelu Lukaku provided the lone goal of the game to earn Belgium a win in their friendly against Japan.
Roberto Martinez feels Kevin De Bruyne is capable of achieving what Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have in their careers.

Belgium's friendly game against with Japan in Bruges on Wednesday was almost called off due to a terrorist threat.

The match was in doubt an hour before kick-off due to the potential of an attack. Though police eventually decided the game could be played, security measures were significantly stepped up, meaning a number of fans missed the start of the match and even most of the first half.

Belgian FA spokesman Stefan Van Loock told media after the final whistle: "We thought, talking to the authorities, that we wouldn't play. An hour before the match, there was the possibility that the game wouldn't be played.

"So there were more checks, people who wanted to come in were subject to very thorough checks, very strict checks, and that took a lot of time. There were some people who came in half-an-hour after the kick-off."

He added: "During the course of the evening, it became clear that it wasn't as serious as we had thought at the start, apart from just wanting to make people afraid."

The game at the Jan Breydel Stadium was played a day after the second anniversary of the attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, an incident that had started at the Stade de France during France's friendly with Germany.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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